NEO 10Y in conversation with Chapter Z

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Chapter Z gets familiar with NEO 10Y

Cerebral and subversive, genre bending and provocative, the post pop artist, NEO 10Y weaves intricate narratives and conscious lyricism in-between their industrial R&B and cinematic grunge production.

The iconic protagonist of the viral, controversial, and thought provoking “The Kid That Killed Trump” has been featured on Billboard, Dazed, Paper, COLORS, BBC, and Gal Dem Magazine alongside being the face of two Jean Paul Gaultier campaigns. We sat down with them to talk about all things vegan, self realising, and symbolism.


Photo by Eivind Hansen
Photo by Eivind Hansen

Z: Your songs have pretty in-depth meaning, can you give us an insight into some of the themes within your latest single, Crackhead Angel?

NEO 10Y: Thank you for recognising the depth! All of my songs have profound narratives that are spiritually empowering and consciousness expanding. I like to create with intention and purpose and I think conscious artistry is the future for sure as we move closer towards a utopian world, deconstructing the violence and elevating the peace. Crackhead Angel is about traversing the polarities and binaries of reality; decoding the ones and zeros and understanding of self. The process of self-realisation has been heavily documented in all of my work since inception (ILY, Stan Yourself, Dopamine, Y), but Crackhead Angel is a more personal song referencing a series of NDEs / blackouts that I had in 2016 and when I was six years old and slipped by a swimming pool, cracking my head open and waking up in hospital. The more I have studied consciousness, the more I understand that life and death are infinite, and that we all traverse the astral realm consistently and moments that we may not be able to recollect are “deaths” and “trips” within the multiverse themselves.

Z: Can you tell us a little more about the symbolism in your music and the bigger picture of your creative process?

NEO 10Y: The symbolism in my art is sometimes obvious and sometimes less obvious. The songs themselves have literal elements and more conceptual elements, for example, Stan Yourself is about finding love within ourselves for world peace and the video has a dystopia to utopia narrative. The first film that I made was The Kid That Killed Trump, which had more obvious symbolism where I play a forlorn Mickey Mouse impersonator in Times Square NYC who has a sexual encounter with Trump and then “destroys” him. That was more obvious about the state of Amerikkka, kids in cages, the violence of his regime etc. I made it before he was president in the hopes that it would inspire people not to vote for him, but I haven’t worked out how to cheat an election yet, whereas Mr Trump has!

Photo by Eivind Hansen
Photo by Eivind Hansen

Z: Your stage name stems from the term “neoteny” which is defined as the retention of juvenile characteristics into adulthood.  How does your name play into your artistry and essence of being?

NEO 10Y: The idea of NEO 10Y is essentially oneness and for us to be in our purest form, and so the spiritual construct of “neoteny” is leading with an open heart and love energy, that child-like innocence before the system brainwashed the majority of humans into violence. That said, for us to understand ourselves we need to decode that oneness and understand the polarities of reality and ourselves and I think through that, we can find world peace collectively. The songs are epic in themselves, but they all have a message and a cohesive vision for our future.

Z: You are quite vocal in your activism surrounding veganism and the benefits of being vegan. What made you decide to become vegan and what does being vegan mean to you?

NEO 10Y: Ah, I am so happy that you asked this! Becoming vegan was the best decision that I ever made. I am vegan for the animals, the planet, water systems, biodiversity, collective health, to solve world hunger, for world peace and spiritual growth. My morals and actions are also aligned now. A plant-based, non violent consumption pattern not only expands our consciousness, heals us, saves the animals and is better for our health, but it’s also so imperative for the environment because of climate change and to stop the impact of environmental racism caused by animal agriculture. A vegan future is on the horizon, filled with love and kindness that doesn’t involve the exploitation of human and non human animals and I am really excited for it.

Z: Self-realization for world peace is a big theme in your artistry, can you explain how that theme comes to life and what we can all do to help work towards a more peaceful and accepting world?

NEO 10Y: Thanks for asking these amazing questions. I really appreciate it. Finding ourselves and truly understanding healing and the essence of love, energy and intention is really important. I study consciousness, have ancient Indian ancestry and am really connected to yogic and vedic philosophies of peace. It’s a lot of how my lyricism forms in a kinda futuristic way – fusing that ancient knowledge with manifestations of a utopian future. Deconstructing all oppression is the key to peace – that comes down to racial equality, feminism, LGBTQ+ rights and equality, understanding that gender and sexuality are on a spectrum and that we are all pansexual, non-binary beings, understsanding oneness and respect for all, reallocation of resources on the planet to feed the hungry and stopping all animal exploitation so that they too can live in peace and happiness on this planet. A vegan world is a healed world. Go inward, meditate, chant, make art, talk to people, be compassionate and caring in all that you do. It’s really simple in my opinion but the system still has a lot of people committing violence that is essentially against their nature because they don’t know that what they’re doing is impacting another person.

Photo by Eivind Hansen
Photo by Eivind Hansen

Z: You’ve had some complicated experiences with sexual predators within the music industry. Do you have any advice for independent artists navigating an industry that can be notoriously exploitative of aspiring artists.

NEO 10Y: Be yourself, but don’t allow people to be unprofessional with you. It sucks that I had that experience, but I am glad I was able to take action on it that helped a lot of other musicians come forward with their own stories. You can be an artist and sexual being without it meaning that you owe anything to anyone. Remember that you are professional first and stand your moral ground!

Z: What is next for NEO 10Y?

NEO 10Y: I’m working on some music videos, a hybrid TV pilot and an album, so not too much there then! Just want to keep working on my art and hope we can all play more live gigs and travel again for shows soon!

Stream NEO 10Y here.

Follow NEO 10Y here.